Posted by: thewhitesintokyo | December 13, 2008

Weekend Fun

This weekend was a fun-filled one. After a week of doing something akin to containing a nuclear explosion with our bare hands (teaching classes of boys the week before Christmas break), we definitely needed some time to recover, relax, and hang out with friends.

Friday night started out with a farewell party for our friend from Lyon, France, Regis Philbert. First, we wined and dined at a nearby “izakaya” (like a local tavern with a nice variety of grilled and fried food: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Izakaya). Then, we went back to see our friend “Noboru,” who owns and operates another small izakaya with space for about nine people. Surely he wasn’t expecting to fill six of those seats with gaijin, but we definitely enjoyed seeing him again, along with the three completely plastered Japanese that were there before us. With the degree to which Japanese people in Tokyo keep to themselves, it’s always a treat to find an intimate atmosphere like one of these restaurants and try our best to communicate with the locals.

Noboru served up his perfectly poured Asahi beers (just the right amount of head on top, usually much more than we’re used to in the States) and decided he wanted us to try two of his unique dishes. The first was a fried chicken wing that he had stuffed with the filling usually reserved for gyoza dumplings. Absolutely mouth-watering and delicious. The second was a bit more on the bizarre side. Like a cartoon with a lightbulb above his head, his kind and gentle face lit up with a great idea: serving us some specially prepared squid beak. As you’ll see in these photos and videos, it was an interesting experience, and one which we both were brave enough to enjoy. We thanked Noboru and our kind neighbors and headed out to see another long time friend, the local karaoke joint.

Check out the videos below for a delightful window into the world of karaoke in Tokyo.

We called it a night after singing for an hour, and hopped on the train to lazily ride for one stop, rather than take the twelve minute walk home. Well, either hubris or karma came back to bite us because taking the train turned out to be a very bad idea. The train car was definitely crowded and stuffed to its limits, which under normal conditions is stifling enough. Even worse was the out of control heat that was blowing enough to simulate the feeling of being in the Amazon jungle. Worst of all, the train stopped, stalled and restarted for nearly 20 minutes in a tunnel. Talk about claustrophobia setting in. This was actually the first time we’d been on a train that was late, delayed or malfunctioning, and we certainly don’t hope to repeat the experience anytime soon. Not cool Tokyo, not cool.

(haha. For the record, my lovely wife just said “Uno moment sil vous plait.” Yes, in one sentence, she was successfully tri-lingual.)

This morning, we woke up without an alarm and Rachael made french toast, my favorite. Yes, I am spoiled rotten. The rest of the day consisted of meandering around retail Tokyo- in Shibuya and Omotesando- for Christmas gifts. It was one of the first Saturdays we’ve had in a while that actually felt like a Saturday, so we’re both grateful for that. Now that our bellies are full of sushi and lettuce wraps, we’re cuddling up to watch a Top Gun VHS that I snuck into our baggage.

8 days ’til we get home! Thanks for stopping by and please leave a comment if you have time.

Shibuya Xmas

Shopping in Shibuya

Izakaya/Karaoke

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Responses

  1. Thank you for this blog. It was the ultimate “vicariousness.”
    Love the videos and the karaoke was great.
    Wonderful to see you having so much fun.
    Now, lets have fun like that in Minnesota!!!


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